Locks on backpacks are worthless!

Trip Start Jan 15, 2010
Trip End Jul 30, 2010

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I woke this morning to the sun shining brightly through the window, sounds of dogs barking and suburban life going on outside our window. I’m feeling slightly depressed this morning. Though depressed isn’t really the word to describe the feeling... perhaps sad or emotionally exhausted.

After a fantastic day yesterday driving through the Andes, we arrived at the B+B, checked in and went to shower. Except when I went to open my bag, I saw that it had been tampered with...

My security seals were gone, my clips were all open and my zippers were in different spots to where I usually put them. My heart was pounding.

The only thing I thought was missing was my hairdryer, nooooooooooo!!!!!!

Over the next twenty minutes I kept realising what else was gone - my handbag, my belt, camera bag and our first aid kit... Gus said his bag looked fine and went to shower. Only to return to realise that he had stuff missing too! Our electronics bag which includes all of our cables, cords, charges etc that are essential to charging our phone, ipod, camera and also connecting them to our computer! His Leatherman multi-purpose knife and one of our headlamps were also missing.

Dumfounded, we starting putting a list together of everything missing.  Whilst we were doing this Marta came in and explained in her best English that she had called the tourist police. They came to the house an hour later.  

During our four hour stint with the police we tried to work out when it had happened and how...

We had a three hour wait at the Chilean-Argentine boarder. Our packs stayed in the hold, but anyone could have slipped inside the hold, tampered with our pack then slipped out without anyone knowing.

We think, and I reinforce the word think! that something dodgy is going on at the boarder... The last check with coming into Argentina is a bag scan and they randomly search two or three bags with every bus that passes through. They took everyone’s bags off the bus, except ours.

We thought this was strange but shrugged and thought nothing more of it.

As we got onto the bus, I saw the main security dude accept a bundle of cash from someone and he went to his office and was separating them into piles. Five piles... Strangely, there were five security people. 

When we arrived into Mendoza, the bag guy ripped off the tags to our bags and insisted that he kept our 'bag store’ receipt. He didn’t do this with anyone else.

They had entered my bag via my bottom zip which didn’t have a lock, stupid I know. But when your bag is stowed in a ‘security’ hold on a top-notch bus, one doesn’t expect to have stuff taken from it. Lesson learnt!

I thought that they had entered my top compartment via the bottom as there is a drawstring and one could simply shoving a hand up the bag and pulling out whatever they could. But for some reason the zipper on my main compartment was damaged and I couldn’t open it completely.

We couldn’t work out how they got into Gus’ bag. But we worked it out this morning; they entered the main compartment by simply manipulating the zipper and the lock. See video!

The long of the short is that locks on packs are worthless! They are only a deterrent. If someone has the time, they can easily get into a pack.

We were so stupid to not put our pac-safes, which is a wire cover, on our bags.

So we made a statement, we have a report, we called our insurance... They want receipts. Original ones at that and everything is in storage and we probably didn’t keep the receipt for everything.

It’s a pain in the pooper!

Where there real pain comes from is that we now need to replace things that we had found really useful on the road (like my hairdryer and Gus’s clippers) or are going to be painful (Nokia charger, i-pod charger) to get in our broken Spanish. It is also the fact that someone that we do not know has been in our bags, with their grubby grimey hands on our stuff.  Blaahh!
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Connie on

Arrghh, sweetie. I know that feeling of emotional exhaustion, I had my wallet pinched from my bag in Spain...while it was on my back!! The latinos seem to be artisans when it comes to petty theft. I was slack because I've spent so much time in Sicily and never had hassles in the land of the mafia that I felt immune. Where there's poverty and latinos there is no immunity. Bugger bugger bugger, it ain't the money it's the inconvenience! But you got each other and all the love that oozes out of every photo of you guys together and ain't no-one pinching that from the luggage hold. Good luck finding those electronic bits. Mucho amor xoxo

Kirsty on

You poor things!! I can only imagine how frustrating and upsetting that would be :( xoxo

Maria on

Dear Gus and Jess,

I felt sick reading your story today. Unfortunately, corruption exists everywhere, especially in poverty stricken countries and it must be disheartening for you to have been the victims of a scam such as this. I hope the rest of your trip will prove safe and secure. Love, Maria

Mia on

Oh No! Not again! You guys are really having some memorable BAD experiences to go along with the many FANTASTIC ones, on this trip. Most important though, is that you are both safe and well and still managing to enjoy this adventure. We love and miss you and really enjoy reading your entries. Stay healthy and happy and secure!!! Love Me xxxx

G&G on

Sorry, how disappointing, even it is nailed down. When I was a soldier in the Middle East I thought the Egytians were slippery customers but these take the cake. Please don't let some rats destroy your fantastic holiday.

Love G&G xxxxxxxxxxxxx

gusandjess on

Thanks for the comments lovely ones, we were upset but now it doesnt matter. I´ve been liberated from my hairdryer and nopw I dont spend 30min blow drying it every second day!

Would you believe that whilst we were in Villarrica a few days ago, the owner of the hostel came to us, very upet, saying that he caught the cleaner going through our luggage!!! The cleaner admited to taking US20 from Gus´panty drawer. Skimming from the top, so we wouldnt realise!

The money was returned... But now we´ve have two strangers touhing our stuff! And all the more wiser... If your gear is out of sight, it is not secure. Not even in your hotel room.

We´re still having a great time, meeting lots of lovely people and enjoying the ride... The good and the bad!

love, G+J

Sari on

Bastards...Im so sorry guys..that totally sux balls...have you managed to get all your electric cords sorted?? Perhaps as you have uploaded more pics Im guessing?? Very cluey of you though Mrs. Holmes...you should be a P.I..seriously..Big Love, sorry you had to learn a shi##y lesson xxx

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